Results tagged ‘ St. Louis Cardinals ’

This Day in Redbirds History


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April 7, 2013 - Michael Wacha made his Memphis debut and Brock Peterson hit his first home run of the season on the way to leading the PCL in homers. The then-21-year-old went 4.0 innings and surrendered two earned runs on 5 hits. The right-hander went on to appear in 15 games with Memphis in total, this being the only outing he did not record a strikeout during his tenure in Memphis. Wacha would end up finishing 5-3 with the Redbirds before being called up to St. Louis where he had a postseason for the record books. For Peterson, his 11th-inning home run was not enough to win the game against Oklahoma City in the 14-10 loss. The power-hitting first baseman did go on to hit 25 long balls in total though, tied for 8th in Redbirds’ history for a single-season. 

Twitter Talk – Opening Day


Opening Day has become one of the best afternoons of the entire baseball season. Every team has a renewed outlook at the season. Every player starts with a perfect average. Every ball club begins in first place.

The grand spectacle that is Opening Day gets every player excited, and when players are excited, they take to Twitter to make sure the whole world knows they are. Both former and current Redbirds made their thoughts known yesterday.

Matt Carpenter, who signed an off-season contract extension to remain with St. Louis through the 2019 season, was ready to go yesterday.

Kolten Wong reached base twice yesterday against Cincinnati, including a beautiful bunt single.

Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold experienced Opening Day in Cincinnati, where there was a parade through the streets in celebration of another season.

Every team has that funny guy. Joe Kelly fits the role perfectly with St. Louis.

Trevor Rosenthal, who notched his first save of the season yesterday with a perfect ninth inning, hanging out with Kelly and outfielder Peter Boujos before the opener. Bourjos turned 27 yesterday.

When Kevin Siegrist tweets, you know something is a big deal.

Adam Wainwright received a lot of deserved praise yesterday after notching his 100th career win.

Xavier Scruggs may have said it best.

The Redbirds open their season on the road this Thursday, April 3, at Iowa. They then begin the 15th season inside AutoZone Park the following Friday, April 11, at 7:05 pm against Iowa. If you have not already, grab tickets to the opening series and we hope to see you around the park soon!

Battle of the Birds Ticket Options


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The Battle of the Birds exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Memphis Redbirds is one short week away! The first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 pm, with gates opening two hours prior so fans can fully appreciate the spectacle and take in batting practice. For fans who have not secured their admission yet, new VIP ticket options were released today. The VIP ticket options are available for purchase exclusively over the phone by calling (901) 722-0257. Fans will not want to miss their chance at this last-minute opportunity. More information can be found here. We can not wait to see you in a week and celebrate AutoZone Park’s 15th anniversary! 

2014 Memphis Pitching Staff – Predictions & Input


Since the last post about predictions for the Redbirds roster concerning the 2014 season, St. Louis has optioned five players to minor league camp. A majority of moves have featured more pitchers than position players. It is pitching that remains one of the strongholds in the St. Louis system though and entering the season, things are panning out well.

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The starting rotation in Memphis should see a few newcomers in Tim Cooney and Angel Castro, with Zach Petrick (pictured above) having an outside chance. Both Cooney and Petrick had successful 2013 campaigns, as the tandem finished as teammates at Double-A Springfield. Cooney led all St. Louis minor league players in strikeouts (148) and was tied for the top spot in wins (10). Petrick was right behind Cooney in strikeouts (122), finishing third, but bested all others in ERA (1.99). He also earned the St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award after the season. The pair as a whole have tremendous upside entering only their third professional seasons. If one of them is optioned to start with Double-A, then expect Boone Whiting to fill their spot. Castro was signed in the offseason after spending 2013 with Triple-A Albuquerque in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization. He started 19 games and recorded a 3.48 ERA in 116.1 innings of work. The Dominican Republic-native will be expected to log important innings for Memphis.

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Tyler Lyons (pictured above) and Scott McGregor are projected to fill the final two spots in the rotation. Lyons made his Major League debut in 2013 pitching 53 innings with a 4.75 ERA. If the big league club has any injuries in the starting personnel, Lyons will more than likely be the first to see action with St. Louis again. McGregor, the pitcher who tied Cooney with 10 wins last season, started eight games with Springfield and 17 with Memphis. While his combined ERA landed at 4.06 in 2013, McGregor will look to improve in his first full season at Triple-A.

The St. Louis bullpen does have some questions, which poses uncertainty to trickle down to Memphis. Things should sort out once a few players return from injuries though. With Jaime Garcia going down at the opening of spring training and Jason Motte not appearing to be at full health, it keeps the door open for either Joe Kelly or Carlos Martinez to plug the gap in the starting rotation and the other to fill a bullpen spot. That still leaves one spot in the bullpen though which some see Keith Butler filling. Butler, who made his debut with the Cardinals in 2013, would likely remain with St. Louis until Motte can make a return. The rest of the projected relievers in Memphis are familiar to most.

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Sam Freeman (pictured above), Lee Stoppelman, Jorge Rondon, Eric Fornataro, and Nick Greenwood are foreseen as finding their way to Triple-A. Stoppelman saw three games with Memphis in 2013, his first time above the Double-A level. He showed poise last season, posting a 1.50 ERA in 55 games combined between three levels. Rondon had a good season as a Redbird in 2013 (51 G, 3.06 ERA), while Greenwood and Fornataro seek to bounce back from tough campaigns. Finally, after hurling a franchise-record 25.2 consecutive shutout innings by a reliever, Freeman found success in both Memphis and St. Louis. The lefty was 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA at Triple-A and 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in St. Louis. If the St. Louis bullpen did not already have two lefties locked into it, Freeman would probably be on the Opening Day roster for the Cardinals, although he does still have a chance if St. Louis does not mind having three left-handers. The last spot in the Memphis ‘pen, an opening most thought Jose Almarante would fill before getting stuck in the Dominican with visa issues, seems to be a wait-and-see issue. If the Cardinals are looking internally to fill the void, it could be Heath Wyatt, simply because of the solid year he put together in 2013 between Advanced-A Palm Beach and Springfield. However, they do have a few players that could wind up on the trade block  and provide them with another arm.

With the moves yesterday, St. Louis is down to 34 roster players and seven non-roster invitees left in Major League camp. The key to pitching is keeping arms healthy, which is what the organization is focusing on heading into Opening Day.

Single Game Tickets On Sale March 15th


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The Memphis Redbirds announced today that individual tickets for the 2014 regular season and the St. Louis Cardinals Exhibition Game will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 15th.

Check out the Redbirds’ website for more details. 

After an eight-game road trip to begin the 2014 regular season campaign, the Redbirds will celebrate AutoZone Park’s 15th Anniversary season beginning with a 7:05 p.m. home opener on Friday, April 11th against the Iowa Cubs (Triple-A Cubs).

Ankiel Retirement


Word got out quickly on Wednesday after Rick Ankiel announced he was retiring during the St. Louis Cardinals’ broadcast of their game between the Miami Marlins. With the proclamation, the former 1997 second round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals closed the book on an up-and-down, unique playing career.

Ankiel opened his professional career at Single-A Peoria of the Midwest League in 1998. He advanced through two levels in 1999. He was then rated the #1 top prospect in the minor leagues before the 2000 season, and after a dazzling performance on the mound, Ankiel found himself on the St. Louis roster for the first time in his career. The hard-throwing left-hander became an 11-game winner over 30 starts. He concluded the year with a 3.50 ERA in 175 innings. It would be his only good season as a pitcher, as most know the story of the wheels falling off for Ankiel. The inability to throw strikes forced him to turn his attention to the outfield, where he would adequately survive over seven more seasons with five different big league clubs.

The now-34-year old veteran saw parts of four seasons in Memphis (’99, ’01, ’04, ‘07). As a pitcher with the Redbirds, the southpaw ended with a combined 8-5 record and a 3.76 ERA, even being named the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year in 1999. Even during his best season as a pitcher at Triple-A, the potential as a full-time hitter always seemed to be with Ankiel, when he went 6-for-21 with two doubles and four RBIs in ’99. Records say he would not log an at-bat with Memphis again until 2007, when he hit .267 with 32 home runs and 89 RBIs. Those stats warranted a call-up from St. Louis, finishing the year by playing 47 games with the Cardinals and driving in 39 more runners.

That 2007 season with Memphis was one for the books though. He led the team in total bases, (221), home runs and RBIs. He holds three single-game Redbird records, two of which he earned in one game during the ’07 season. He is tied with three other players after hitting three home runs on June 16th against Iowa. Ankiel ended up with 13 total bases that game after adding a single to his 4-for-5, three-RBI game, which still stands as the record in that category. The outfielder paired a .314 on-base percentage with a .568 slugging percentage, a career-high between both the majors and minors. He had the highest HR/AB ratio in the Pacific Coast League that year, a mark that stood at 1/12.16. There were 13 different games when Ankiel recorded three or more RBIs. He hit home runs in back-to-back games seven different times, even going yard in four consecutive contests from July 3rd to the 7th. The strong arm he used to pitch with came into play during his time split between right and center fields. While he committed seven errors in 238 chances, Ankiel posted eight outfield assists and started three double plays. Adding to all of that, the then-27-year old swiped four bases in seven chances. He was named a starting outfielder at the Triple-A All-Star Game and awarded a Post-Season All-Star selection from the Pacific Coast League. His promotion to St. Louis on August 9th was well warranted. Ankiel would go on to play two more seasons with the Cardinals in ’08 and ’09 before moving elsewhere.

For me, Ankiel was someone I thought had it all together. I knew he could throw hard and that he was considered to be good. When he tried to make the conversion from pitcher to outfielder, I gave up on him for a little while. That 2007 season in Memphis would go on to springboard him into a respected all-around outfielder.  I will always have two memories regarding him. The first was when I had gotten two of the same rookie cards of him in one baseball pack. I remember being the hot trader on the block with that extra card. The other is actually baseball related and it came when I was glued to the television as the Cardinals were in the midst of a six-game road swing during the 2008 season. It was a beautiful May night in Colorado and Ankiel was manning center field for St. Louis. In what I still consider to be two of the greatest throws from the outfield, Ankiel recorded two assists by gunning the ball with pinpoint accuracy to third base. When he nailed the runner at third for his second assist in eight innings, I was cheering so loud my mom had to tell me to settle down. (Enjoy)

Rick Ankiel was a talented man. Having success after switching from a top pitcher to outfielder will rarely, if ever, happen in the way that Ankiel made it happen. As he continues his life past a playing career, I wish him all the best and give thanks for the memories he provided me with growing up.

Cooney Drawing Attention


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Tim Cooney, recently ranked as the No. 6 top prospect in the St. Louis organization by Baseball America, has apparently been impressing many people in a short amount of time. Receiving a non-roster invite to Cardinals Spring Training, the former Wake Forest hurler is coming off a terrific 2013 campaign. The southpaw was named a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star, back-to-back Texas League Pitcher of the Week winner, and finished first in the entire St. Louis organization with 148 strikeouts in 2013. Entering his third professional season, Cooney still has yet to allow more than two walks in a single outing. There is a lot of excitement and potential surrounding the young pitcher, as he looks to bust out in 2014.

Read more here.

Grand Slam 4-Pack Now Available


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Trying to find the best bang for your buck? Look no further than the Grand Slam 4-Pack! The pack includes the Battle of the Birds exhibition game, two firework nights and a Top Prospect Bobblehead Giveaway. More information can be found here.

The exhibition game is 32 days away and the Redbirds opener at AutoZone Park is in 46 days! Get your tickets now!

Baseball America’s Top 100 List


This time of year always provides several signs that baseball is around the corner. The weather begins to warm up, players report to Spring Training and the countdown to opening day at AutoZone Park dwindles down to a reasonable number. In addition to that, Baseball America releases its top 100 prospects list with the season just weeks away. That list was revealed last night on MLB Network with four names from the St. Louis Cardinals organization on it. While Kolten Wong and Carlos Martinez are expected to make the big league club out of Spring Training, Memphis has a good chance of hosting Stephen Piscotty and Oscar Taveras for at least part of the season. Here is a more in-depth look at the four talents.

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Oscar Taveras: Taveras earned the #3 ranking from Baseball America, the highest of any Cardinals’ prospect this year. The outfielder has been on the radar of the organization after his stellar 2010 season, leading the Rookie-level Johnson City Cardinals to an Appalachian League Championship behind his .322 average. Since then, the 21-year old has hit above .300 in every season and slowly began to hone his power numbers, including a .572 slugging percentage and 23 home runs in 2011 with Double-A Springfield. St. Louis’ top prospect was expected to see action in the big leagues in 2013 before going down with an ankle injury that cut his season short after 46 games in Triple-A. Taveras saw most of his playing time in center field with the Redbirds, although he is projected as more of a corner outfielder once he reaches the major league level. Early reports from Spring Training are positive towards the way Taveras feels on his ankle, as the young player eyes his debut in the majors during the 2014 season.

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Carlos Martinez: Martinez earned the #31 spot on the top 100 list. The hard-throwing right-hander has been a top three prospect in the St. Louis organization since 2010 and named to Baseball America’s top 100 list since 2011. The Dominican Republic-native was rated as having the “Best Curveball” in the St. Louis organization by Baseball America the past two seasons as well.  Martinez has been a Cardinal since 2010, pitching through three different levels in 2013, including the major leagues. A starter his entire career in the minors, Martinez went back and forth between St. Louis and Memphis, pitching as a starter in Triple-A and reliever in the majors. He put up solid numbers in several stints with both Memphis (5-3, 2.51 ERA) and St. Louis (2-1, 5.08 ERA). The 22-year old is looking for redemption and expecting to spend his first full season in the big leagues during 2014, claiming a spot in the bullpen.

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Kolten Wong: For the third time in three years, Wong’s name appeared on the coveted list, this time as the #58 prospect. The second baseman has done nothing but produce after being drafted 22nd overall in 2011 by St. Louis out of the University of Hawaii. During his three seasons at the minor league level, Wong has compiled a .301 average and recorded 50 steals. Last year at Triple-A Memphis he hit .303 with 21 doubles and 45 RBIs in 107 games and earned a late-season promotion to St. Louis on August 16. The 23-year old struggled to find a rhythm following the promotion though, going 9-for-59 (.153) with 12 strikeouts at the plate. The starting job at second base for St. Louis appears to be Wong’s to lose for the 2014 season. Many project him to man second base for many years in a Cardinals’ uniform.

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Stephen Piscotty: Piscotty was probably higher on the list than most people thought he would be, taking the #70 spot. Entering his third professional season after being drafted 36th overall in 2012 by St. Louis, Piscotty has aggressively climbed the ranks with hopes of beginning the 2014 season with Triple-A. The 23-year old was converted from a third baseman to an outfielder after the 2012 season. After being ranked by Baseball America as having the “Best Outfield Arm” coming into 2013, he proceeded to make eight outfield assists and record three double plays. The crazy thing about it all is that his defense is not what he is noted for. After hitting .295 between Advanced-A and Double-A last season, Piscotty took an invitation to the Arizona Fall League and made full advantage of it. With a team-high .936 OPS, the outfielder hit .371 with 18 RBIs in 23 games. If the California-native can put together a good spring, a roster spot could be his to begin the year in Memphis.

Birds in the Spotlight – Seth Maness


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Seth Maness had one of the shortest stints of all players with the Memphis Redbirds last season. The right-hander appeared in four games, going 2-2 with a 4.23 ERA in four starts. His minimal time in Triple-A warranted a call up to the big league club, one Maness took full advantage of. The former 2012 MILB.com Organization All Star ranked 21st in the National League with 15 holds, complimenting a 2.32 ERA in 66 games. Maness was a key piece to Mike Matheny’s bullpen.

One of the reasons Matheny relied on Maness was his ability to get hitters out in front and produce groundballs. Maness talked about that, and his excitement to get back into the swing of baseball, in a recent article.

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